Kathmandu, Oct 15 (AP/UNB) — The nine climbers who died during the worst disaster on a Nepal mountain in recent years included the first South Korean to summit all 14 Himalayan peaks over 8,000 meters without using supplemental oxygen.
An official from the South Korea's Corean Alpine Club said the bodies of Kim Chang-ho and four other South Koreans who were killed will arrive in South Korea on Wednesday. Four Nepalese guides also were killed when a storm swept the climbers' base camp on Gurja Himal mountain Friday.
Rescuers had retrieved the climbers' bodies on Sunday after weather cleared. The body of one of the guides was taken to his village, while the eight others were flown to Kathmandu.
"It was the worst mountaineering disaster in Nepal in recent years and an unimaginable one," said Rameshwor Niraula of Nepal's Mountaineering Department, which issues climbing permits and monitors expeditions.
Niraula said officials were still gathering details of what exactly happened but from what rescuers described, the climbers were blown over by the blast of the blizzard-like wind conditions.
One Korean member of the climbing team had become ill and was in a village far below the base camp during the storm.
The CAC official, who didn't want to be named because she wasn't authorized to speak to reporters, identified the other South Korean victims as Yu Yeong-jik, Im Il-jin, Jeong Jun-mo and Lee Jae-hoon.
Yu was reportedly in charge of equipment for Kim's climbing team. Im was a filmmaker who specialized in documentaries of mountain climbers. Yonhap news agency said senior CAC member Jeong wasn't part of Kim's team but was visiting them when the accident happened.
It was the deadliest climbing disaster in Nepal since 2015 when 19 people were killed at Mount Everest base camp by an avalanche triggered by an earthquake that devastated the country. The previous year, an avalanche above Everest's base camp killed 16 Nepalese Sherpa guides.
The Himalayan range includes all 14 of the world's peaks that rise above 8,000 meters, and only a few dozen climbers have made verified, successful ascents of them all. Kim achieved his feat in 2013.
Santa Lama of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, who helped with coordinating the rescue, said since all nine people at the camp were killed and no surviving witnesses it was difficult to say what exactly happened or when.
The climbers were also attempting to scale a 7,193-meter (23,590-foot) peak which is not among the highest, the most difficult or popular mountain to climb in Nepal.
Grieving family members gathered at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Nepal's capital where the bodies were to be autopsied before being handed to their families.
The South Korean ministry told reporters strong winds during the storm blew the victims from their base camp off a steep cliff. Word of the destruction got out Saturday morning, and helicopters were sent. They were not able to land due to the continuing bad weather but spotted the bodies, which were retrieved Sunday.
They were issued permit to climb the peak during the autumn climbing season. Spring and autumn are the optimal climbing seasons in Nepal in between the harsh winter and summer monsoon.
The CAC official said a Korean Air flight carrying the bodies of the climbers will arrive at South Korea's Incheon International Airport early Wednesday.
Yangon, Oct 15 (AP/UNB) — Several thousand pro-military and nationalist demonstrators marched through Yangon on Sunday, voicing their support for Myanmar's armed forces and government while condemning foreign involvement in the country's affairs.
The march led to a stage lined with portraits of Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, where speakers addressed a flag-waving crowd and condemned the international community's involvement in Myanmar, claiming groups would "fight back" against international bodies who have called for the investigation and prosecution of the country's top generals.
"We, the people of Myanmar, strongly denounce and condemn any intervention or intrusion by the foreign countries, international communities and various organizations which unrightfully manipulate our nation and our Myanmar armed forces," proclaimed one of the speakers of the event, reading from a prepared statement.
Demonstrators march through the streets during a pro-military rally Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in front of city hall in Yangon, Myanmar
Nationalist monk Wirathu also gave a speech calling for the international community to stay out of Myanmar's national affairs.
"The day the International Criminal Court comes to our country, that's the day R2P (responsibility to protect) comes to our country. That'll be the day that Wirathu picks up a gun," Wirathu said.
A United Nations fact-finding mission reported last month that Myanmar's military systematically killed thousands of Rohingya Muslim civilians, burned hundreds of their villages and engaged in ethnic cleansing and mass rape. It called for top generals to be investigated and prosecuted for genocide.
Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay was unable to be reached for comment Sunday.
New Delhi, Oct 14 (UNB) – Union Minister MJ Akbar, who has been outed by nearly a dozen women as a sexual predator during his days as a newspaper editor, would not resign, reports NDTV citing sources.
The government has nothing to do with the accusations against him and his stepping down may set a bad precedent, sources said.
Mr Akbar, 67, was on an official tour in Nigeria when several women came out with detailed accounts of his alleged sexual misconduct as part of a thread on social media that has snowballed into a #MeToo movement in India.
As he returned to Delhi this morning, he told reporters that "a statement will be given later".
The women who have accused Mr Akbar of sexual harassment in the #MeToo campaign sweeping the nation are mostly journalists who worked with him or appeared for job interviews when he was editor.
The accusations started flowing in after journalist Priya Ramani tweeted on October 8 that Mr Akbar was the man who had harassed her in an incident she shared in an article for Vogue India a year ago, when the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the US triggered the #MeToo movement.
The women who have spoken out against MJ Akbar, as part of the #MeToo movement include Prerna Singh Bindra, Ghazala Wahab, Shutapa Paul, Anju Bharti, Suparna Sharma, Shuma Raha, Malini Bhupta, Kanika Gahlout, Kadambari M Wade, Majlie de Puy Kamp.
The BJP has not commented on the charges, though individual ministers have supported the movement.
Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi has asked for an investigation against him. Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale said "MJ Akbar should resign if the charges are proven".
On Thursday, Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani said, "Anybody who is speaking out should in no way be shamed, victimised or mocked". Asked about Mr Akbar, she said, "I think that it is for the gentleman concerned to issue a statement, not for me as I was not present there".
Several political parties such as the Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen have demanded Mr Akbar's removal as minister.
Kabul, Oct 13 (AP/UNB) — A motorcycle rigged with explosives detonated at an election rally in northeastern Afghanistan on Saturday killing at least 14 people, including civilians and security forces, officials said.
Khalil Aser, spokesman for the provincial police chief in Takhar province, said 32 others were wounded when the explosives-laden motorbike parked near the rally in Rustaq district exploded.
"There are a number of wounded people in critical condition," he said.
The attack took place at about noon before Nazefa Yusoufi Beg, a female candidate running for a seat in parliament in Oct. 20 elections, arrived at the rally, Aser said. It was not immediately clear if she was the target.
Jawad Hajri, spokesman for the provincial governor, said Rustaq is a remote district where insurgent attacks have not occurred in the past and the candidate's supporters had gathered for the rally confident they would be safe.
Adeb Hamra, a local resident, said in a telephone interview that the district government hospital has only four doctors and was overwhelmed with dead and wounded, most of them in critical condition.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but Taliban insurgents are active in the province and have claimed pervious attacks there.
It was not the first attack on a political campaign.
On Tuesday, eight people including candidate Saleh Mohammad Achekzai, were killed when a suicide bomber struck Achekzai's home In Helmand province. He was holding a meeting at the time of the attack in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital.
On Oct. 2, just days after official campaigning began, a suicide bomber struck an election rally in eastern Nangarhar province, killing at least 14 people and wounding around 40.
Last week, Taliban insurgents issued a statement condemning the elections and warning candidates and Afghan Security Forces that they would be targets if they participate. The Taliban called the polls a U.S.-manipulated event to further their hold on the country.
There are 2,565 candidates vying for seats in the 249-member chamber, including 417 women candidates.
In the run-up to campaigning, five candidates have been killed in separate attacks. Officials from the country's Independent Election Commission said another two candidates have been abducted, with their fates unknown, and three others have been wounded in violence. Afghan security forces accidentally killed three bodyguards of an independent candidate during a raid on a house near his residence in the eastern Kunar province.
In a separate report from eastern Logar province Saturday, at least five civilians were killed when a bomb exploded during a wedding ceremony, said Shah Poor Ahmadzai, the provincial police chief's spokesman.
Ahmadzai said seven others were wounded in the attack late Friday, which took place in Mohammad Agha district.
Mohammad Naser Ghairat, a provincial council member in Logar, said the bomb was planted near the house where the wedding was taking place and targeted the participants of the wedding.
Ahmadzai said initial reports show both the groom and bride were not hurt. An investigation was begun to find out more and the death toll could rise, he said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but Taliban insurgents are active in the province.
Jakarta, Oct 13 (AP/UNB) — Torrential rains triggered flash floods and landslides on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, killing at least 27 people, mostly children at a school, officials said Saturday.
A flash flood with mud and debris from landslides struck Mandailing Natal district in North Sumatra province and smashed an Islamic school in Muara Saladi village, where 29 children were swept away on Friday afternoon, said local police chief Irsan Sinuhaji.
He said rescuers retrieved the bodies of 11 children from mud and rubble hours later.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency's spokesman, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said rescuers and villagers managed to rescue 17 other children and several teachers on Friday and pulled out the body of a child on Saturday near Aek Saladi river, close to the school.
A video obtained by The Associated Press showed relatives crying besides their loved ones at a health clinic where the bodies of the children were lying, covered with blankets.
Nugroho said two bodies were found early Saturday from a car washed away by floods in Mandailing Natal, where 17 houses collapsed and 12 were swept away. Hundreds of other homes were flooded up to 2 meters (7 feet) high, while landslides occurred in eight areas of the region.
Four villagers were killed after landslides hit 29 houses and flooded about 100 buildings in neighboring Sibolga district, Nugroho said.
He said flash floods also smashed several villages in West Sumatra province's Tanah Datar district, killing five people, including two children, and leaving another missing. Landslides and flooding in the neighboring districts of Padang Pariaman and West Pasaman killed four villagers after 500 houses flooded and three bridges collapsed.
Both North and West Sumatra provinces declared a weeklong emergency relief period as hundreds of terrified survivors fled their hillside homes to safer ground, fearing more of the mountainside would collapse under continuing rain, Nugroho said, adding that dozens of injured people were rushed to nearby hospitals and clinics.
Seasonal downpours cause frequent landslides and floods each year in Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains.